The Precious Tripod
· Spring Moon
On vernal ride in dresses bright,
Men trod in the moonlight,
With colored banners casting shadows on the fair.
Lo! Singing bowers here and dancing terrace there,
And gust on gust
Of fragrant dust
Rising form neath the lotus feet.
When flutes ceased their songs sweet,
The lovers went away with phoenix bells ringing.
They need not fear the watchmen’s blame for being drunk.
Why was imperial road in silence sunk?
It was because the famous songstress was singing.
Old folks remember the crowned kings in tears
Left the northern capital for the frontiers.
But if they turned their eyes,
They’d see the Sandy River Pool
On ripples green
The shadows of mansions fall and rise.
When shadows moved upon the screen,
Into brocade were woven colors bright.
For miles the waves looked like green grapes steeped in moonlight.
The talents coming to and fro would fear to break
The mirror of West Lake.
The children riding hobby horse have heard in vain:
None of three thousand musical fingers remain.
We wait long for spring which comes not till we’re to sleep.
Like the unhappy lady in sad plight,
Holding her chignon by lamplight
And shedding pearly tears, I’d weep.
Even if I witnessed the Dance of Rainbow Cloak,
The earthly paradise would melt like dream or smoke.
The first stanza describes the Lantern Festival in the capital of the Northern Song; the second, of the Southern Song; the third, after the downfall of the Song Dynasty.
The work of the late Song lyricist Liu Chen-wong was written twenty years after the fall of the Southern Song Dynasty. This lyric is a retrospective work, comparing the past prosperity with the cruel reality, recording the misery and sorrow of the destruction of the family and the country, and showing the creative spirit of keeping a record of the history with words. The whole lyric is divided into three stacks. The first stack is about the festival of lanterns in Bianjing; the second stack is about the patriarchs in Bianjing who are secretly hurt by the pain of the death of their country; the third stack is about the real society and expresses the author’s sincere feelings for his homeland every moment. The three stanzas are logical and natural, and they express the feelings of the Southern Song Dynasty’s survivors in a very intimate way.